New Utrecht Library has operated in its current location since 1956, but its history dates to 1894 and the opening of the Free Library of the Town of New Utrecht. The branch joined the BPL system in 1901.
Whether measured by circulation, program attendance or door counts, New Utrecht is one of Brooklyn’s busiest branches. Patrons of all ages flock to New Utrecht for its diverse offering of programs, the most popular of which include Summer Meals, Kids Create, Chinese brush painting, Story Play, computer courses and ESOL classes. The library’s large auditorium and multiple meeting rooms can accommodate a wide range of special programs, many of which are geared toward older adults.
New Utrecht serves Bensonhurst, a diverse and historic community that has produced many noteworthy figures in arts and entertainment, including Harvey Fierstein, Leah Remini, Alyssa Milano, Scott Baio and Moe, Curly and Shemp Howard of The Three Stooges. The neighborhood’s place in television history was secured by 1950s series The Honeymooners and cemented in the 1970s with Welcome Back, Kotter.
A number of high-profile organized crime figures also hail from Bensonhurst, including Anthony Casso, Paul Castellano, Mikey DiLeonardo, Anthony Gaggi, Carlo Gambino, John Gambino, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, Gregory Scarpa and Carmine Sessa.
Bensonhurst loves its parades, festivals and fairs. Noteworthy annual events in the vicinity of the branch include the Columbus Day parade, the 18th Avenue Feast of Santa Rosalia and the 86th Street Festival. The neighborhood is home to Lenny’s Pizza, immortalized by John Travolta in the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever, which continues to serve customers on 86th Street.
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Bensonhurst offers many scenic walks perfect for a lunch break. New Utrecht Library is within an easy stroll of Calvert Vaux Park and the Old New Utrecht Cemetery. Also worth a look: Steve Campanelli’s Statue House on 85th Street, a neighborhood icon.